Gays/Lesbians Essay

Gays/Lesbians Essay

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Homosexuality is a hotly debated issue in the United States but there are trends that are showing some normalization of the gay/lesbian lifestyle. The Census 2000, according to Lee Condon (2001), should be remembered as the first gay and lesbian census because the federal head-counters made a first attempt to count gay and lesbian households. When the data was released, it showed that 1.2 million same-sex, unmarried partners had been identified. Single gays and lesbians were left out of this part of the census count, but a study commissioned by the national gay lobby, Human Rights Campaign, estimated that Census 2000 undercounted gay and lesbian couples by a factor of 62 percent (Condon, 2001). Regardless of whether or not Census 2000 represented an accurate profile of the gay and lesbian families or partnerships, what was revealed in Census 2000 is that an “increasing number of American households are populated by gay or lesbian partners who have children from previous relationships, adoption, or other procreative efforts” (Condon, 2001). What this data suggests is that there may be a gradual move toward the normalization of gay and lesbian partnerships or families.
A 2001 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that more than 76% of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals believe that there is greater acceptance of their sexual orientation by the general public (Wellner, 2001). The survey also revealed that 73% of Americans believe that laws against hate crimes should include crimes against homosexuals and bisexuals, while 76% would support extending discrimination laws in employment to protect diverse sexual orientations. Wellner (2001) noted that support for “legally sanctioned gay and lesbian marriages appears to be increasin...


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... conservative, ultra-right, and essentially fundamentalist Christian sectors in society, rejection of demands for additional protections for gays and lesbians are still imminent (Skover & Testy, 2002).
In conclusion, while normalizing strategies have helped gay/lesbians gain some rights; it tends to reduce sexual differences into sexual identities which ignore the complexity of the issue and its intersectionality with social differences and various forms of inequality. Anti-normalization, which characterizes radical sexual resistance, on the other hand, challenges considerations of sexual morality and normalcy as well as is less centered around a politics of identity. Anti-normalization politics could take us beyond the concepts of identity and exclusion by encouraging a future in which new forms of sexual expression, relations and communities are welcomed.



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